Having taken his final exams at Oxford, Tom Warrington leaves for Portugal where his father, Brigadier Warrington, has set-up an opulent villa. Accompanying him is Oxford-mate, Meeth, a rather shabby and down-at-heels young man who arouses Tom’s pity. Tom and his father share an uncomfortable relationship which is further accentuated when Tom reaches Portugal and finds his father enamoured of a young gold-digger called Irma, the latest in a series of unfortunate women his father has selected after his divorce from Tom’s mother. Needless to add Irma and Tom do not hit-off and before long there is murder.
The book is disappointing. None of the characters (except a little for the Brigadier) are sympathetic. The racist generalizations about the Portuguese are too much to take and the description of a Black Nurse left me appalled. I am sure that had I picked up this book as my first Fleming, I’d most probably not have touched her again. As it is I’d just assume that she was having a very off-day.
First Line: For the last time, Miss Watchet stood inside his room with the door slightly open behind her, as though ready to make a dive for freedom should the occasion demand it.
Publication Details: NY: Ives Washburn, 1964.
First Published: 1963
Source: Open Library
Other books read of the same author: The Chill and the Kill; Miss Bones